Even if he Doesn’t
I remember one day at a Bible study when a young woman began talking about her pregnancy. She asked for prayer, and she was visibly emotional as she explained to us that she had lost a late-term baby during her last pregnancy. She tearfully told us that God had spoken to her and had assured her that this pregnancy would be different. She believed He had promised her that this baby would be perfectly fine, and she told us so with confident conviction. “He isn’t going to let anything happen this time,” she said. “I’m holding on to His promise.”
I joined in as we surrounded her and cried out to God on behalf of the little child that was growing inside of her. Yet, none of us really knew how this situation was going to turn out; least of all the mama who was determined that God had offered her a special revelation about her baby.
Someone had taught her wrong thinking about God. Somewhere along her Christian path, some teacher or mentor had told this woman that God is good because He does what seems right to us. She had been taught that we are to name what we want and claim it territorially, as if we can instruct God on the best way to do things. And, in her desperation to hold onto the hope that she would never again have to endure the death of a child, she convinced herself that God had promised her that she would never have to.
A few weeks later, she suddenly stopped attending. Our group leader contacted her and learned that despite the promise that she thought God had made, that young mother had lost yet another baby, and her faith was rocked right down to its very foundation. She had wrongly assumed that God would do what she desperately wanted Him to do, and when He didn’t, she crumpled with hopelessness, partly because of her terrible grief, and partly because of some bad teaching that misrepresented the character and sovereignty of God.
It is possible to grieve the end of our plans while still maintaining hope for the future. It’s possible to beg God for one outcome, and still praise Him in the middle of a different outcome. It’s possible to love and trust God when He doesn’t choose to rescue us or a loved one. It’s completely possible to be living through the most horrific hell we can imagine on this earth and still love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. But only if we have a proper understanding of our place within His unsearchable, sovereign will.
Our position as His creation cannot be that He should do as we demand. It cannot be that He is only good if He gives us what we want. It cannot be that His love is spelled out by how satisfied I am with His answers to my prayers. Yet, it is possible to have great hope and security in His ability to rescue us while also having great faith that even if He doesn’t, we can trust Him and He is good.
Are we coming to the place in our spiritual growth where we can pray in earnest, like Jesus, not my will, but Yours be done? Are we blossoming into Christ-followers who can testify to God’s sovereignty, holding our faith in His power in one hand, while we also cling to our faith in His goodness, saying, “But, even if He doesn’t…?”
Are we growing into Jesus-trusting parents who can beg God to heal our children while also shouting from the depths of our souls, if He doesn’t, He is still good?
I don’t know what happened to that precious mother who lost two babies and then lost a sense of her faith in God. I hope that she came to trust Him more in the end. I hope I would, too. When the bad things come, when the kind of rescue we think we need just isn’t part of our story, will we be able to testify before a watching world that God can do it, that He will do it, but even if He doesn’t, we won’t turn away? We won’t lose hope. We won’t lose faith. And, we will say forever and ever, He is good.